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Sir Henare Ngata Scholarship for accountant trainee

Erutini Paringatai-walker

Erutini Paringatai-Walker from Te Araroa is one of this year’s winners of the BDO Sir Henare Ngata Scholarship for Māori accountants.

Mr Paringatai-Walker will begin his internship with BDO this year. He will also receive $7500 worth of financial assistance for study-related costs, registration for Ngā Kaitatau Māori o Aotearoa hui (National Māori Accountants Network), and mentorship with BDO for his final year of study.

Māori are significantly under-represented in the accounting profession, making up around 2 percent of accountants in Aotearoa — despite making up 16.5 percent of the population.

BDO hopes to use this scholarship to further accounting careers for successful applicants and increase the number of Māori who choose a career in accounting, empowering them to become future leaders and shaping the direction of the Māori business sector.

Mr Paringatai-Walker works as an accounting trainee at BDO Gisborne while studying, and will take up his internship at BDO Gisborne.

“BDO is like a whānau,” he said. “We have regular catch-ups to make sure I’m able to manage both work and study,” he said.

“It’s been great to work with Māori businesses and I feel a sense of joy knowing I’m helping my whānau. I’m connected by lineage to a lot of my clients and I really feel a sense that I’m giving back to my community.

“The reason I became an accountant is so I can give back to my whānau, hapū and iwi.

“There’s a shortage of people who know financial literacy on the East Coast, and there aren’t many resources. It’s still two-and-a-half hours to Gisborne which is where the nearest chartered accountants are.

“Once I’ve completed tertiary studies and become a chartered accountant, and gained as much experience as I can, I hope to bring these sorts of resources back into the region. I would love to start a programme that reaches back into the smaller communities,” he said.

The other recipients were Joyana Tarawa, Christchurch and Taimus Ritai, Taranaki.